Saturday, December 20, 2014

Exchanging Bad Memories of Christmas

Remembering Christmas
by Dr. Jim Richards
Impact Ministries Blog


By the time you read this I’m sure you’ll be looking ahead to Christmas trying to figure out what to do, what to buy, or what you’re going to feed your family. Maybe you’re looking at it and asking, “How will I even get by?” One of the tools I offer as a gift every year is a short series about Creating Happy Holidays. If you have never listened to it, click here to download your free copy!

I grew up incredibly poor and as I got older Christmas wasn’t a time I looked forward to. My memories of Christmas include the time my mother was hospitalized and we had nothing to eat. It was actually my first positive encounter with church. A church group brought us food. I remember seeing the bags of groceries on our porch and knowing we would have food to eat.

Most Christmases were filled with hurt, disappointment, and embarrassment. We always knew that any holiday would end in my dad getting drunk and beating my mother. Or in later years my stepdad would get drunk, get in a fight, and tear the house to pieces. My mother tried so hard to give us some kind of meaningful Christmas with her incredibly limited resources, but it was rare that she was able to deliver on the hopes she had for us. Between my father stealing our food and money and giving it to his other family, the hopes deferred, and the general negative experiences Christmas was usually pretty bleak.

However, there were some positives. My brother and I would go into the woods, cut down a tree, drag it home, and fill the corner of our small living room with that wonderful cedar smell. My mom would sit with us and help us make decorations from popcorn and aluminum foil. I can only imagine how crazy those trees must have looked with a small assortment of store bought balls and lights and homemade ornaments.

This was one time of the year that my grandmother seemed to set aside her dysfunction and pitch in to help. My sister, brother, and I would wake up to a stocking with some candy and fruit and, for some odd reason, we each got a coconut. We opened our presents and, fortunately for us, we didn’t know we were poor. We loved every little toy and every piece of candy. My reason for even bringing this out is that I want you to know, you may not be able to do what you want to do for your children, but they can enjoy anything that’s done in love. Now that I’m older the painful part of those holidays has given way to the few good memories when we were children and life was wonderful if you had a coconut!

As a young adult I was tormented about the holidays. I would usually start getting more excessive in my drug and alcohol abuse in November and it would usually last until spring. I hated the holidays. It wasn’t the fact that we were poor or even the hard times we went through; I hated getting together with people you didn’t know or didn’t like and pretending that all was well! Of course, that’s what dysfunctional families do. The problems are too big to solve so you pretend they don’t exist.

All of this was brought to a head when I married a woman who loves Christmas. From the beginning she would decorate the entire house inside and out! She would change the dishes we used. She even played Christmas music. By the time Christmas morning came I would be struggling with depression so badly I could barely make it through opening gifts. But I wanted my kids to have a good Christmas so I prayed and worked it through. I can’t thank her and my kids enough for how patient they were with me and my holiday struggles!

Brenda and I somehow came to realize that we had to create our own traditions and our own unique memories. I needed for everything we did at Christmas to be genuine. Brenda has always been so gifted in the area of hospitality and I am able to help and encourage people. So the second year we were married we melded our abilities and began making sure that at Thanksgiving and Christmas we reached out to those who were widowed, divorced, and single. We invited them into our home to minister to them and help them through what could be a very difficult time. For me, the ability to bring joy to others was an essential part of my personal healing!

Let me encourage you to look beyond your own needs and reach out to others during the holidays. You may be like Brenda and I. We seldom had the money or resources to do what we did, but we did what we could and people were helped. The law of sowing and reaping works most consistently in the area of grace. When we seek and experience the grace to give anything away, that same grace makes us able to receive the very thing we give away! Too often we want to experience something in ourselves before we attempt to give it to others. Many times we experience the grace to receive at the very instant we are experiencing the grace to give.

Create new traditions for you and your family. Be the blessing to others you wish someone had been to you. Take the love of God to others and you will experience it in your own heart! Please download my free series "Creating Happy Holidays" and encourage your friends to visit our website and download their free copy. Let’s help everyone have a great Christmas.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 12/15/14


  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 12/15/14 
  by Donna L. Watkins  

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"Logic will get you from A to B.
Imagination will take you anywhere." -- Albert Einstein

Hello Dear Friends!

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Christmas Cactus in Bloom
View More Christmas Cactus Photos
Home Life - When our dear friends, Ken and Yvonne Bushell, moved from the neighborhood, they asked if we wanted a Christmas cactus.  I'm not much on house plants.  Not that I don't enjoy seeing them and fussing over them, it's just that we have always had cats and didn't want them chewing on anything that would be toxic to them.  It is one that is not toxic to dogs or cats.

Ken told us this Christmas cactus was in the garage and that sounded like such a lonely place for it, so I wanted to give it a "life" of window time and sunshine.  In the good weather months it remains outdoors, in the winter it resides in the breakfast area which becomes my office since I usually spend Spring, Summer and Autumn on the screened porch. 

It doesn't bloom at Christmas, but always blooms in early November.  It sure is a beauty and every year I send Ken and Yvonne photos of it.  I have my office area similar to last year when I decided to bring the chaise indoors.  Since the breakfast area window is southwest facing, it's a nice cozy and toasty place to spend the sunny days.  Even on dreary cloudy days I've got the birds and squirrels all over the bushes at the window and on the feeders and birdbath, so it's a wonderful spot!

Gardening -  In the last issue of this newsletter I mentioned that Nandina berries were toxic to wildlife.  We were informed otherwise before we put a few bushes in to hide the view of the storage shed, so when the berries are ripe we cut them off.

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Nandina Berries Kill Birds
Read More About This
They make bright and beautiful displays in the house especially for the holidays beginning with Thanksgiving.  I keep a photo of our son on the kitchen counter and always like to place some flowers by him.  I think the berries are a nice option also.  They sure do show off in color.  If you didn't see the post on "Nandina Berries Kill Birds" view it now.

Spiritual - Randal and I watch or listen to a spiritual message at lunch and dinner.  It fills our minds with good things and keeps our joy intact while it seems others are focused on the world falling to pieces. Psalm 91 tells us of God's protection over us and He's given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (I Peter 1:3).

Jesus said in a prayer to the Father: "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:15-17).

The more we put truth into our minds, the more spiritually-minded we can be. Whatever we focus on the most will be what is magnified in our lives the most.  If you've read anything on quantum physics, you already know that thoughts produce the reality of what is around us, so it's important to keep our thoughts on good things. Watching CNN (constantly negative news) is not an asset to our lives and watching soap operas certainly do not bring anything spiritual to our lives.

We have to overcome all this negative stuff, or we end up swimming in it, and from what I see many people are literally swimming in it.  There even seems to be a frenzy to talk about it and repeat it as if sharing it will unload some of the burden of fear.  When we are in fear of any sort, we are in unbelief and that's the opposite of faith. 

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Morning Prayers:
Squirrel on Birdhouse
View More Squirrel Photos
"For they that are after the flesh (things going on in the physical realm) do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5 KJV).

Another translation says, "Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit" (Romans 8:5 NLT).

Recently we watched a video that was very inspiring for those of us who try to "DO" our way into God's blessings.  God's already done everything and Jesus said all we need to do is believe in our hearts to receive it.  Just as when we doubt in our hearts we don't receive it.

"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he said" (Mark 11:23).

Here's a great message on video at YouTube - Programmed For Heaven. Here's an intro from the teacher, Clint Byars: "Believers have been given a new heart and new spirit. Our new heart is no longer wicked and our spirit is perfect. This new heart is encoded with God's truth and it hears God clearly. We don't have to try to figure out how to hear God or believe the truth, we're already recreated into a king of being that naturally believes, hears and follows God.

Our goal is not to try to hear God, our goal is to stop clouding His voice by trying to hear Him. The only time we're not following God is when we're worrying, afraid, asking for something we already have or trying to accomplish spiritual realities in our flesh.

God would not put a new heart in you that then needs to figure out how to believe. The new heart believes, we just need to tend the garden of our heart with the tools of peace so this magnificent transformation God has begun in us is completed the way it started, by His spirit."


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Monticello's Rear Entrance
Home of Thomas Jefferson
View More Photos of Monticello
Travel Virginia - We live off the same highway that Monticello is on so we visit the property quite often since parts of it have open access and the beauty of the place is incredible.  Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, who, after inheriting quite a large amount of land from his father, started building Monticello when he was 26 years old in the Charlottesville, Virginia area.  At one time it encompassed 5,000 acres but is now maintained at 2,500 acres. 

Years back they built a new visitor's center which now allows you access to many free areas of the estate which includes the two-story museum, a nature trail, a cafe, a gift shop and a nursery where you can buy historic plants that TJ used at Monticello.  They are still being grown at nearby Tufton Farm. We did some letterboxing one day and enjoyed some of the activities around the visitor's center and took some pretty Autumn photos.

Then on November 30th, they had their 2nd annual Open House at Monticello which was very cool. We got to take the shuttle up to the mountaintop where Mr. Jefferson built the house and gardens and an amazing plantation of horticulture and agricultural displays and research. The architecture is also something I enjoy seeing.

View Monticello photo albums:
Thomas Jefferson Visitor's Center
Monticello - Home of Thomas Jefferson
Annual Naturalization Ceremony on July 4th (Sam Waterston, Guest Speaker)

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The Redneck Gourmet Restaurant
N. Court Square - Downtown Newnan, GA
Travel Georgia - In the last issue of this newsletter, I mentioned my trip to Newnan, GA, and gave you a couple of links to photos.  In this issue I have the rest of the photos ready to view.  The downtown area is very historical and inviting with a lot of shops and places to dine.  There's also a lot of community events downtown with free movies and musical nights and various celebrations and holiday events.

The downtown area also includes historic Oak Hill Cemetery which was very interesting with a walking tour brochure giving you information behind the names on the monuments.
View Oak Hill Cemetery Photos.
View Downtown Newnan Photos.

I was intrigued with The Redneck Gourmet restaurant and read that the name came from the two owners, one a redneck and the other gourmet.  They have an interesting menu. The building was erected in 1894 initially occupied by the Newnan Banking Co. and a drug store.

Apparently the restaurant is no stranger to celebrities.  It has drawn the likes of country music star Alan Jackson, comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking and former Atlanta Braves pitcher Steve Bedrosian (info from their website).  They have two locations and the other one is in Senoia to the east of Newnan which is a town with a long list of movies and television series filmed there

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Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
Cochran Mill Nature Center, Palmetto, GA
My favorite place was Cochran Mill Nature Center.  I went with my friend, Robin, who lives in the area, and it was super enjoyable.  They take in wildlife that is non-releaseable which includes a lot of reptiles that people once wanted as pets and now no longer want to care for them.  They can't be released since they've never had to hunt and feed themselves.

They also have an area outside of raptors that are either non-releaseable or are being rehabilitated to be released back into the wild.  The setting is amazing with 50 acres of land and adjacent to Cochran Mill Park, an 800-acre nature preserve.  Such a beautiful and peaceful setting in Palmetto, Georgia.  View Cochran Mill Nature Center Photos.

Helpful Tidbit - If you recently spent some time circling a mall parking lot, looking for a place to park, you may want to consider an approach recommended to CNBC.com by former math teacher Joseph Pagano. “Rather than circle the lot, idle in an aisle where you can see 10 spaces ahead of you on either side (20 total). Given the average holiday shopping trip duration of 77 minutes, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of those 20 spots should open up in 3.85 minutes or less of waiting.”

Christmas - I've been looking back at this past year and bringing to mind all the good things God has done for me.  We don't do much for Christmas since the focus of the world seems to be giving people who have too much stuff more stuff to deal with.  The celebration of the Lord's birth seems to be set aside.  He who gave His own life so that we could have eternal life.

Santa and Donna - Age: 3 or 4
We enjoy the amazing peace of December that seems so increased as we look at the world rev up and stress up for busyness.  It's nice to enjoy the musicals, church drama productions, hot apple cider evenings with homemade cookies, and the movies that portray a simpler side of Christmas.

Am I being too judgmental?  Probably so .... it makes me sad to look back at the simplicity of Christmas that I had growing up in the 50's in a small town, compared to what it has become now.

We stopped the whole gift exchange thing about 13 years ago. Interestingly when we did it, we got a response we did not expect.  Friends and all but two members of Randal's family thought it was a grand idea. Those who seem to thrive and run on stress power couldn't quite grasp the concept.  They were geared up for the adrenalin rush that comes before Thanksgiving and remains into January when they find themselves sick with the flu wondering why their immune system is so weak.

We exchange gifts with our son through the Amazon Wish List keeping it simple.  Instead, we like to make birthdays real special in our family.  Randal and I sometimes exchange a gift with each other if we can think of something we'd like to have.  So far, that's not happened yet this year.  Thinking of a couple of items for our son is about all we could muster up this year. Money is not the issue, but keeping life more simple is.

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Carolina Wren at Window
View More Wren Photos
I enjoy giving all year long so we are not without gifts to open from neighbors or friends, but I consider them more Thanksgiving gifts than Christmas.  Regardless, it's nice to be remembered.  We are not Bah Humbug folks ... we just don't want to join the Christmas madness.  We've never experienced the frenzy of Black Friday which it seems now has become more than a day's event.  Imagine how blessed we might feel if we spent our Christmas dollars on people who have almost nothing. 

Well, I don't want this to be a negative newsletter ... just pondering out loud and tossing out some possibilities for those who are tired of Christmas American Style.  There have been others who have made similar changes and it becomes more of a time of joy, peace and thanksgiving for all that we have already.

You might want to mention this "novel idea" at your family gathering to see how others may be thinking.  Maybe after opening another one of those gifts that is 100 miles away from anything you would choose [grin].  Maybe there are others who would like a more peaceful Christmas. At the very least maybe you could arrange for a gift exchange of only one person in the family to shop for.  That has gone over extremely well with families.

And maybe you could begin giving consumable gifts.  A great idea, especially for those who are home all day or a loved one that is not very mobile, would be a birdfeeder and black-oil sunflower seeds to fill it (this seed brings in the most variety of birds).  Something easier?  How about a suet feeder with a few refills!?  Birds need the extra quick energy that suet gives them and if they're in a wooded area, they'll see woodpeckers too.

I think what I'm really trying to say is to make Christmas what YOU want it to be.  Don't be pressured by family traditions that you don't want your own nuclear family to pattern life after.  You cannot imagine how great it is to have the peace part of this throughout the whole month of December.  Listen to your thoughts and words ... how do you really feel about the madness of Christmas?  Follow your heart.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).

View Enlarged Photo
Donna at Monticello
 Home of Thomas Jefferson
Charlottesville, VA
View Photos of Monticello
May God Increase Your Blessings Daily,

Donna


P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
 
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter. Click on it and on the left sidebar there will be an option to share in various ways. The top one is to email it to somebody.  

If you simply want to copy and paste the link into an email, here it is:  http://www.thenatureinus.com/2014/12/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-121514.html

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

Is Our Heart Prepared to Receive the Seed?

Make Your Eyes Stronger and Enhance Your Short-Term Memory

You Are a Chosen One!

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© All photos unless otherwise noted are the property of Donna L. Watkins and can be displayed elsewhere with approval. Contact me through the blog website.

Birds Need Water in Winter

From National Wildlife Federation Blog

Throughout the hot summer months, backyard birders faithfully supply fresh water our feathered friends need for drinking, bathing or simply cooling off. By this time of year, however, most have put away our birdbaths, fountains and other water features, assuming that birds won’t need them until next spring.

But that’s not true, experts say. “For birds and other wildlife, water is just as important in the cold months as it is during summer,” says NWF Naturalist David Mizejewski. “If there’s no snow in your area, there is literally no water, which means birds can be in trouble.”

Even in places with abundant snow and ice, it costs birds precious calories and body heat to melt frozen water. Backyards that provide fresh, clean, liquid water during winter tend to host more avian visitors than do frozen yards. In winter, “water is as big an attraction as feeders,” says Sally Roth, author of The Backyard Bird Feeder’s BibleRead the entire article.

Note From Donna:  You can find heated bird baths on Amazon.com but the best bird bath we've had is a ceramic saucer that you buy to go under a planter pot.  It's slick and easy to clean but more expensive than a plastic version. You do need to add a heater to the saucer so the water does not freeze.  You can get a plastic saucer in various sizes, but I would suggest a 12" saucer so there's room for the heater and several birds to sit around the edge.

The best deal on a heater is Farm Innovators Economical De-icer which is also a lower wattage to save on electricity. Those two items would give you a heated bird bath for under $25.  We have another bird bath that has the heater built in and is thermostatically controlled. The current best deal on something like that would be the K&M Super Ice Eliminator Bird Bath which has free shipping.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

God Works In The Simple Things

God Works In The Simple Things
by Andrew Wommack

John 14:7 "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

Knowing Jesus is knowing the Father. This is not only because Jesus did exactly what He saw His Father do, but Jesus was God in the flesh.

The disciples didn't realize that seeing Jesus was seeing God. They were expecting something more. Many times we miss seeing God work in our lives and circumstances because we are looking for something stupendous. Although it is true that God is totally awesome, He doesn't usually choose to manifest Himself in that way.

God spoke to Elijah not in the fire, wind, or an earthquake, but in a still, small voice. Jesus didn't come to this earth in a grand way by man's standards, but was born to poor parents in a stable. Isaiah 53:2 says that Jesus had no form nor beauty that would make us think that He was anything more than a mere man.

Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, that God chooses to do things this way so that no flesh will glory in His presence. The Lord wants us to focus on Him through faith and not concentrate on the physical things He uses. In the Old Testament when the Lord did use visible instruments to release His power, the Israelites made idols out of those things.

Just as the disciples saw Jesus but didn't realize that what they saw was God, likewise, God is infinitely involved in our everyday lives, but we miss Him because we are blinded by our carnal minds. The primary reason that God chooses to use those who are nothing by the world's standards is so that no one else will take the credit for the great things that are accomplished.

Visit Andrew's Website.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Is Our Heart Prepared to Receive the Seed?

by Cecil Paxton

Luke 8:15 NASU
“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

When the Word of God like a seed is sown do we really receive the seed into our heart? Is our heart prepared to receive the seed of the Word of the Lord? When we listen to the Word of God being taught we all hear what the person is saying and we may even choose to believe what the person is saying but has that truth really become ours or is it just something that we have chosen to believe.

When it comes to the Word of God it must be something to us that is more than just what we hear and agree with. The Word of God is a Spiritual seed that must be received into our heart. Then there is a process we enter into where something is being produced that will manifest into this natural realm that we live in.

When a farmer puts seeds into the ground he expects a crop. He would not go to all the time and effort of planting the seed without expecting the benefit of his labor, the crop. If you are confident of the benefit of the crop then you will hold fast to the truth of the Word of God with a confidence in the one who made the promise knowing that He is faithful. The end result from your perseverance is fruit.

Matthew 13:8-9 NKJV
“But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

Everyone hears preaching and teaching of the Word of God but not everyone has the ears of their heart open to hear resulting in perception and understanding coming forth by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always involved in spiritual change.

So the question again is this -- is our heart prepared to receive the seed?
If our heart is described as soil then what is good soil?
If our heart can be honest then what is an honest heart?
If our heart can be good and honest then can it be bad and dishonest?
If our heart is in a bad condition and dishonest then does that make me a bad person and how does this affect my righteousness that I experienced at salvation?

All unbelief is always about us! It is about what we believe that is contrary to the Word of God but it can be truth to us because that is just simply the way we see it. This is how we close the eyes of our heart and usually do not realize the condition of our heart that it is in a condition of unbelief and dishonest. We can always have a willingness to resolve an issue of the heart no matter how bad the issue as long as we understand that our righteousness is in our born again spirit not in our heart.

There can be an issue of unbelief in our heart but we are still righteous and in good standing because of Jesus not because of our performance. Without this understanding of your righteousness being in Christ and not in your own performance from yourself then you would not have confidence to go to God for help with the bad issues of your heart. A person with issues of sin in their heart might emotionally feel shame which could through feelings of unworthiness to want to hide from God and not run to Him for help.

Matt 13:14-15 NKJV
“And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”

The problem with just listening to the Word of God and just choosing to believe what we were hearing is that there is no understanding in your heart of what you have heard. It is one thing to receive information into your conscience mind and another when the Holy Spirit enlightens the Word of God causing understanding to come forth. When the Word of God gives us under-standing we are able to practically apply that truth in a way that we live it and get spiritual results.

The condition of our heart is very important in receiving the Word of God. The example in verse 15 is a heart that is dull resulting in hard of hearing manifesting itself at times with an attitude since a person can feel very right about the way they see life’s issues.

The scripture says “their eyes they have closed” because we have a free will to choose and when we make the wrong choices out of a heart unprepared to receive from the Lord, He is not responsible for us not receiving, we are. The scripture says “lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, enabling the Lord to heal them." Receiving is about Jesus and not about us; it is for us.

Turning is another word for being converted which is a work of the Holy Spirit that we experience in Him giving us understanding which goes beyond the conscience mind and enters the sub-conscience part of our heart resulting in enabling us to live the ways of life in Christ.

True believing is when our heart is firmly persuaded in the process of believing to the place that we have a faith and confidence in the Lord with a constant expectation of the good we are believing for.

Luke 8:15 AMP
“But as for that [seed] in the good soil, these are [the people] who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in a just (noble, virtuous) and worthy heart, and steadily bring forth fruit with patience.”

Visit Cecil's Website.


Make Your Eyes Stronger and Enhance Your Short-Term Memory

From Luminosity

The pace of modern life makes us frequently use computers, and many people are employed in sedentary occupations where they spend at least two-thirds of their time at work sitting at a desk.

In such circumstances, our eyes get tired quickly, vision gets worse and as a result, these symptoms may lead to myopia (nearsightedness). Luminosity prepared a few tips that will help you keep your vision strong and protected.  Read this article.


Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNature InUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins can be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

You Are a Chosen One!


Chosen Before Creation
by Andrew Wommack

John 17:24 "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."

God the Father had the plan of salvation worked out before He even created the world. Most of us would not have created the world and man if we knew the heartache and terrible sacrifice it would cost. But God is not man. In His judgment (which is the correct judgment) the prize was worth the cost.

We were chosen in Christ before the world began. The Lord did not choose us by our merit, but solely by our acceptance of Christ which His foreknowledge allowed Him to do before the foundation of the world.

In the strictest sense, we were not personally chosen, but Christ was chosen and all those who are "in Christ" partake of His being chosen by His Father. Just as we are the beneficiaries of the covenant between God the Father and His Son Jesus, so we are chosen because we chose God's chosen, i.e. Christ. The Father would no more reject us than He would reject Jesus because we are accepted by the Father through Christ.

None of us can claim that we are without blame in the sight of men because man looks on the outward appearance (1 Sam. 16:7) and all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23). But the Lord looks on our born-again spirit which has been regenerated in Christ and He sees us holy and without blame.

If you look at any color through a red glass, that color becomes red. The same thing would happen if you looked through a green glass. Everything would become green. In a similar way, God looks at us through Christ and everything in our life becomes covered by the blood of Jesus. We are holy and without blame before Him because of His love expressed through His Son.

Visit Andrew's Website.